by Evan Kean

Stuart Theater Department’s showing of The 39 Steps isn’t the same old murder mystery it appears to be. The star of this show wasn’t a person, but a part of the stage: a huge, 20 ft. tall scaffold with a screen attached. Before the start of the play, film noir inspired short films were projected onto the screen, all of which entirely created by IB Film classes at Stuart. It wasn’t until the start of the play, however, that its true use came to light. Projected on the screen throughout the play were signs, titles, backgrounds, whole other scenes and more, each different depending on the scene.

Using this setup of projected pictures and films gave the play a whole new feeling of dynamism and energy. A scene taking place on a train, for instance, felt much more alive with a background whizzing by behind the characters. It was especially clever when actors could interact with the screen, such as opening a door to reveal a view in another room onscreen, or simulating a helicopter cockpit. The end of the play even had actors scrambling around on the platforms of the scaffold, which really gave the stage, and the entire play, some dimension.

This implementation of using film simultaneously with a play has never been attempted before at Stuart, but it truly turned the play into something unique.

Additional showings will take place on May 1 and 2 at 7:30 in the auditorium.